MURDER BOX / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: GERALD VARGA / SCREENPLAY: JIMMY GANNON, GERALD VARGA / STARRING: GERALD VARGA, DESIREE ZANTOLAS, STEVE DUNPHY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Sam Geraldson (Varga) has an alter ego, Gerald Gerald Geraldson, a stand-up comedian specialising in ‘horror comedy’ who’s brought in to be interviewed by police investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. While this is taking place, they are also going through the contents of Geraldson’s hard drive. The things they discover opens up a disturbing investigation into Geraldson and his psyche.
Presented as a documentary, Murder Box employs several styles. For the most part, it’s an engaging and often unsettling watch. With footage culled from the perspective of the antagonist and the victim - who had started her own ‘Stalker Blog’ when she split with Sam - allows the pseudo-doc/found footage conceit to really work. Although we’ve seen this kind of thing done hundreds of times before, there is enough here to rise it above the usual and predictable. Kim the ex (Zantolas) is seen to be manipulative and goads Sam to breaking point, but as we find, his mental state - as he’s essentially two different characters - is already a ticking time bomb. One thing’s for sure, however: this is no open and shut case.
With the growing popularity of true crime programmes, Murder Box deserves to be seen by more people. As a pastiche of such shows, it works really well, and even manages to throw a few curveballs, particularly in the shocking climax. The result is an impressive low budget effort that punches well above its weight.
Gerald Varga - pulling duties as co-writer, director, and star - utilises the different styles perfectly, and could be an interesting talent to watch in future.